19 Feb Raw Materials-CORTEN
There’s Something about raw materials that strikes the eye. May that be Concrete, Glass, A precious Metal, gold and the like.
Maybe be it’s the lustre, maybe it’s the way the light penetrates the surface and diffuses in complex and subtle ways. My gut tells me it some thing different though. It wasn’t so long ago that Humans were just another animal loose in the wilds amongst the woodlands and rock formations that Our earth is constituted of.
This part of our history has spanned vastly longer than the modern history of man. Surely this exposure to nature has impressed upon us what we want to be surrounded. Primal things, earth, water, fire, are mostly present in the best-designed spaces. Spaces people want to use. Spend time in.
Designers, artist, engineers, and technicians have over the few centuries explored materials and there uses both for practical and aesthetic applications. Sometimes times the Practical leading the aesthetic and vice versa. It is this unusual route >> Practical leading aesthetic, that eventually led to the adoption of CORTEN as an architectural finish. Initially explored by metallurgists looking for a high strength of steel that would not require constant painting. These talented folks succeded in their endeavours.
Enter CORTEN, some of the initial practical uses for corten where girders and bridge members. Where its oxidative stabilisation meant no painting would be required to protect and extend the life of the structure. This material didn’t go unnoticed long as the oxidative layer that formed left a uniform deep red-brown colour, not unlike the tones smeared by hand against the ancient caves from a time immemorial.
I’m of the belief that corten is a stunning and wonderful material. I’m also of the belief that its use must be carefully considered and used when and critically if appropriate. Too many times it is overused or designed and implemented in a tacky manner.
I pledge to battle one project at a time to restore this versatile and irreplaceable material back to its rightful place as one of the primary finishes to be considered for any serious architectural project.